Friday, May 25, 2012

Irish 2000 Guineas

All 11 entries stood their ground for the Irish 2000 Guineas on Saturday. I believe the winner will come from this pack, in no particular order of preference; Born To Sea, Hermival, Parish Hall, Power, Reply, Takar and Trumpet Major. The others are simply not of the same class as the above.

Born To Sea disappointed in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Connections can point to the soft ground but I think he's more of a sprinter-type, and his pedigree confirms that, being by Invincible Spirit. Over the course of the year, it could be that can get a mile against seasoned milers, but this race might possibly come a little too soon for him after his flop a few weeks back. I think he can run a Place at best.

Hermival sprang a surprise when coming home third at Newmarket. This son of Dubawi should have no concern regarding the distance, although he will not be getting his preferred soft ground at the Curragh. He can be involved in the placings again but I don't think he will win.

Winner of last year's Dewhurst, Parish Hall makes his seasonal appearance in the Classic. It remains to be seen in what kind of disposition he is, and how well he's progressed over the winter. Connections must be bullish because he's been the subject of major market support in the run-in to the race. It's impossible to gauge his chances against horses that have already had one or two important outings already, but if he wins this, he could turn out to be the top miler of his generation. It seems to be safer to have him in the frame than an outright win.

Power looks to be the No 1 representative from the Ballydoyle camp, despite having tailed off at Newmarket, seemingly because of the soft ground conditions. He's clearly got a lot of talent, but as a sprinter and not as an outright miler. A slow pace will play to his advantage, but it's hard to see him reverse form with the other contenders from the 2000 Guineas and take this.

If there is to be a huge upset, I would not be surprised if it came from Reply, again from the Aidan O'Brien camp. Unless he's already been tasked to take the role of the non-honourable pace-maker, he is making his seasonal appearance and has unexposed form. He has been placed third in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes last year, so his race history has to be respected. If he is to be given a proper chance to run his race, this might be a value pick for long punters.

Takar is the ride of Johnny Murtagh for the Aga Khan. He's clearly a smart sort who's won his last race at listed level very comfortably. That race should have brought the necessary improvement in him but he will feel the difference in class. He might have his say in elite company, but a place at this stage looks more of a possibility than a win.

Finally, Trumpet Major represents the Richard Hannon stable, and comes from a honourable fourth place at Newmarket. He looked the winner two furlongs out and while connections point to the soft ground for his downfall, I think he just might not have been suited to the dip of the Rowley track. The firmer track might be to his advantage, and the fact that he stayed on in the 2000 Guineas means that the distance will suit well. I think he's sitting on a big race.

All said and done, I like Trumpet Major as an each-way. The Hannon camp won this race with Canford Cliffs a couple of years back, and they look set to strike again, or at least play a major role again. I think Takar and Parish Hall look poised to run well and complete the placings.

Each-way: Trumpet Major

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